Anzac Day takes place each year on April 25 and is a major national holiday in both Australia and New Zealand.
What does Anzac mean?
The term is actually an acronym. “ANZAC” refers to the soldiers who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
What is it?
Anzac Day commemorates a World War I mission in which the Anzacs assisted the Allied Powers in an attempt to gain new fronts and a valuable trade route to their Russian allies.
On April 25, 1915, the allied expedition landed on Gallipoli peninsula in their plan to engage Turkish forces and penetrate their capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul).
The allied soldiers were met by the Turkish defenders, operating under German leadership, with both sides losing lives from resulting battle. A stalemate went on for 8 months until the Allies evacuated, unsuccessful in their mission to open the trade route.
What is ‘Anzac spirit’?
The exemplary courage and positivity shown by the Anzacs during this time became known as the “Anzac spirit,” which would go on to influence how Australia and New Zealand defined their own national identities.
How is it commemorated?
Though it originally honored the Anzacs who lost their lives during the first World War, the holiday has broadened to remember every citizen’s death resulting from military conflict.
Anzac Day services take place all around the world, including the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Canada and the United States.
In Australia and New Zealand, dawn services take place at the same time as the landing on the shores of Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, during World War 1.
Throughout the day, ceremonies may include prayers, hymns, the laying of wreaths, a moment of silence and a rendition of the national anthem. These are often followed by parades throughout the city.
Why do people wear poppies on Anzac Day?
The red poppy is a symbol of remembrance. That is why you will find citizens of Australia and New Zealand wearing the bright flower on Anzac Day. It is also used to lay on memorial sites.